The Instigator
Evan_MacIan
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

The argument for the family (and small community) is that it is not peaceful and not pleasant.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,178 times Debate No: 1324
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (20)
Votes (10)

 

Evan_MacIan

Pro

I did not actually write this, but I felt it would still be worth discussion. I editted it from a chapter in a book to make it fit, but reading the rest would probably be helpful (if time consuming). The rest of the chapter (and book) are here: http://www.online-literature.com...

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1). The family may fairly be considered, one would think, an ultimate human institution. Every one would admit that it has been the main cell and central unit of almost all societies hitherto, except, indeed, such societies as that of Lacedaemon, which went in for "efficiency," and has, therefore, perished, and left not a trace behind. But some sages of our own decadence have made a serious attack on the family. They have impugned it, as I think wrongly; and its defenders have defended it, and defended it wrongly. The common defence of the family is that, amid the stress and fickleness of life, it is peaceful, pleasant, and at one. But there is another defence of the family which is possible, and to me evident; this defence is that the family is not peaceful and not pleasant and not at one.

2). It is not fashionable to say much nowadays of the advantages of the small community. We are told that we must go in for large empires and large ideas. There is one advantage, however, in the small state, the city, or the village, which only the wilfully blind can overlook. The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. He knows much more of the fierce varieties and uncompromising divergences of men. The reason is obvious. In a large community we can choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us. Thus in all extensive and highly civilized societies groups come into existence founded upon what is called sympathy, and shut out the real world more sharply than the gates of a monastery. There is nothing really narrow about the clan; the thing which is really narrow is the clique. The men of the clan live together because they all wear the same tartan or are all descended from the same sacred cow; but in their souls, by the divine luck of things, there will always be more colours than in any tartan. But the men of the clique live together because they have the same kind of soul, and their narrowness is a narrowness of spiritual coherence and contentment, like that which exists in hell. A big society exists in order to form cliques. A big society is a society for the promotion of narrowness. It is a machinery for the purpose of guarding the solitary and sensitive individual from all experience of the bitter and bracing human compromises.

3). We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbour. Hence he comes to us clad in all the careless terrors of nature; he is as strange as the stars, as reckless and indifferent as the rain. He is Man, the most terrible of the beasts. That is why the old religions and the old scriptural language showed so sharp a wisdom when they spoke, not of one's duty towards humanity, but one's duty towards one's neighbour. The duty towards humanity may often take the form of some choice which is personal or even pleasurable. That duty may be a hobby; it may even be a dissipation. We may work in the East End because we are peculiarly fitted to work in the East End, or because we think we are; we may fight for the cause of international peace because we are very fond of fighting. The most monstrous martyrdom, the most repulsive experience, may be the result of choice or a kind of taste. We may be so made as to be particularly fond of lunatics or specially interested in leprosy. We may love negroes because they are black or German Socialists because they are pedantic. But we have to love our neighbour because he is there--a much more alarming reason for a much more serious operation. He is the sample of humanity which is actually given us. Precisely because he may be anybody he is everybody. He is a symbol because he is an accident.

4). Those who wish, rightly or wrongly, to step out of all this, do definitely wish to step into a narrower world. They are dismayed and terrified by the largeness and variety of the family. Sarah wishes to find a world wholly consisting of private theatricals; George wishes to think the Trocadero a cosmos. I do not say, for a moment, that the flight to this narrower life may not be the right thing for the individual, any more than I say the same thing about flight into a monastery. But I do say that anything is bad and artificial which tends to make these people succumb to the strange delusion that they are stepping into a world which is actually larger and more varied than their own. The best way that a man could test his readiness to encounter the common variety of mankind would be to climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. And that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born.

5). But in order that life should be a story or romance to us, it is necessary that a great part of it, at any rate, should be settled for us without our permission. If we wish life to be a system, this may be a nuisance; but if we wish it to be a drama, it is an essential. It may often happen, no doubt, that a drama may be written by somebody else which we like very little. But we should like it still less if the author came before the curtain every hour or so, and forced on us the whole trouble of inventing the next act. A man has control over many things in his life; he has control over enough things to be the hero of a novel. But if he had control over everything, there would be so much hero that there would be no novel. And the reason why the lives of the rich are at bottom so tame and uneventful is simply that they can choose the events. They are dull because they are omnipotent. They fail to feel adventures because they can make the adventures. The thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations which force all of us to meet the things we do not like or do not expect. It is vain for the supercilious moderns to talk of being in uncongenial surroundings. To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance. Of all these great limitations and frameworks which fashion and create the poetry and variety of life, the family is the most definite and important. Hence it is misunderstood by the moderns, who imagine that romance would exist most perfectly in a complete state of what they call liberty. They think that if a man makes a gesture it would be a startling and romantic matter that the sun should fall from the sky. But the startling and romantic thing about the sun is that it does not fall from the sky. They are seeking under every shape and form a world where there are no limitations--that is, a world where there are no outlines; that is, a world where there are no shapes. There is nothing baser than that infinity. They say they wish to be, as strong as the universe, but they really wish the whole universe as weak as themselves.
Tatarize

Con

Families and small groups are peaceful. We should be very careful in noting what is meant by peaceful. There seem to be two different forms of morality in people's heads: outgroup morality and ingroup morality. Basically my family is peaceful as are most families. There's very little fighting and the little fights there are never come to blows and are quickly resolved. Outgroup morality is typically the intergroup relationships. My family will kill your family and we'd be feuding.

A recent study published in nature found strong support for Parochial altruism.
http://www.nature.com...

It turns out that small groups function better when they are frankly bigoted and murderous towards other groups. When it's us vs. them. We get the benefit of being us. The aid of infragroup relations is widely known, sharing of resources, helping out, child care, group protection. However, in a less civilized culture this is hard to achieve without the added punishment/pressure of intergroup religions.

So in reality, the small groups are in fact peaceful, within themselves. If somebody tries to join the group and fails to meet the social requirements they are quickly ejected. A strong part of preserving this peace is being hugely xenophobic. Later on the barriers start to drop and the general altruism state is more beneficial, however this simply means more peace. In short, the goal is to be peaceful regardless the size of the group.

------

1) The family is not a human institution. You need not be a zoologist to see family structures in nature. These groups also have highly close and altruistic infragroup relations.

2) When we choose companions in a larger group setting, we are in fact, constructing a smaller group. We like small groups of a couple dozen people. We form little gangs and squads and groups around each other. In a small community it's everybody in a large community it's a biker group or a scrabble club, or just your extended family, or your coworkers.

3) God doesn't make our next-door neighbors. God doesn't exist. Though, reading the OT will give you a great example of ingroup and outgroup morality. You are to take slaves of those strangers around you, and if you happen to get a believing slave you are to treat him better and eventually free him. You are told to not bear false witness against your neighbor and love your neighbor... but of those other strangers you don't know they are often invaded and killed.

4) You certainly do compose smaller groups out of larger groups, several in fact. People in modern society tend to have spheres of friends and families.

5) Life doesn't need to be a story. It's life.

-----

I have been around a lot, and nonsensical crap when I see it. There's a reason why your arguments seem largely incoherent and it isn't the verbosity, it's the fact that you're not really saying anything.

Small families and small communities are peaceful. Take a look at your own family. Do you trust each other with money? Do you care for each other? Small communities are very peaceful and larger communities tend to be broken down into smaller communities (because that's the way we think).

You have cited nothing to suggest that small groups are not peaceful. Not one bit of evidence. It looks a lot like you aren't even arguing for anything. You seem to like a book and cut and pasted a few bits and pieces and failed to understand that that isn't an argument and certainly doesn't address the topic at hand. Yeah, families are peaceful and by and large pleasant. You may notice when they annoy you more often than you do total strangers because you don't interact all the time with strangers.

Done.
Debate Round No. 1
Evan_MacIan

Pro

If you didn't understand the arguements, you really should have gone back and read the entire chapter.

The first few paragraphs are interesting, i suppose, but I don't really get how they are relevant.

"So in reality, the small groups are in fact peaceful, within themselves."
Small groups, maybe, but small communities not so much. They might be relatively peaceful as compared to how they react to the outside world, but you won't find more friction than in a large family. I don't mean to say you won't find more disagreement. I mean to say you won't find more disagreement coming together as often as happens in a family. I'm an egg head. I could, if I chose, completely ignore the existence of the jocks in my high school. It is much more difficult, however, to ignore the jocks that are my two brothers. I might disagree more with the other jocks, but I argue far more with my brothers.

"1) The family is not a human institution. You need not be a zoologist to see family structures in nature. These groups also have highly close and altruistic infragroup relations."
The family might not be a purely human institution, but this arguement is purely about the human institution of the family. I am sick of all of the semantics debates that go on on this site.

2) For the most part, you just repeat what was said in the paragraph. You're last sentence loses me entirely.

3) Could you look past your atheist rhetoric to see what the author is attempting to say here? Try ignoring the first half of the paragraph and read the second half.

4) So? The point of the fourth paragraph was that your life would be much more interesting and much broader if you spent your time with your neighbors rather than your friends. (Third Paragraph) Your friends are chosen because they are like you in some way. Your neighbors are not chosen at all. "Precisely because he may be anybody he is everybody." So your neighbor is much more likely to be different from you than your friend. (Fourth Paragraph) Maybe that is not to your taste, but you cannot claim that you are made broader by your friends than your neighbors when your neighbors have considerably more variety.

5) Of course it does not need to be. That's the point. It can be, though, and that is the arguement for the small community (like a large family of your immediate neighbors). It is out of our control enough to give us adventures.

"Small families and small communities are peaceful."
Who said anything about small families? And you've clearly never been in a small community if you think its peaceful. I argue with my brothers more than anyone else.

"Take a look at your own family. Do you trust each other with money?"
Hell, no.

"Do you care for each other?"
That's completely beside the point. If I care for someone, there's a much larger chance I'll try to change them. I tried to stop one of my friends from drinking. You think I'm going to try that with a stranger?

"Small communities are very peaceful and larger communities tend to be broken down into smaller communities (because that's the way we think)."
Small communities are the source of all of the drama in my life, and larger communities are broken down into smaller GROUPS which are the source of most of the stability and comfort in my life. A group is chosen, and a community is not. The fact that you don't see any distinction is a clear indication that you have no idea what was attempted to be conveyed.

"You have cited nothing to suggest that small groups are not peaceful."
You're an only child, aren't you? The fact that you need this proved at all is absurd. If you look at your own life, I would be willing to bet that you agree the most common source of actual arguement is your family. You might disagree more with other people, but you argue the most with your family (assuming you're close).

"It looks a lot like you aren't even arguing for anything."
The same guy who wrote the chapter I took this from said that people who don't see the point in something are the last people who ought to attack it.

"You seem to like a book and cut and pasted a few bits and pieces and failed to understand that that isn't an argument and certainly doesn't address the topic at hand."
Really? Because you failed to understand that it is the topic at hand. You seem to have taken this debate specifically because you don't understand the Pro position.

"You may notice when they annoy you more often than you do total strangers because you don't interact all the time with strangers."
THAT'S THE POINT!!! FAMILIES ARE BETTER BECAUSE THEY ARE A SOURCE OF ACTUAL CONFILCT (and therefore actual variety) AS OPPOSED TO THEORETICAL CONFLICT!!!

Tatarize, I've followed some of your other debates, and I respect you. However, I am a completely tactless debater and I really don't think you should have accepted this debate. There are no hard feelings on this end, and I apologize if there are on your end.
Tatarize

Con

"The argument for the family (and small community) is that it is not peaceful and not pleasant."

That's false. Families and small communities are peaceful and pleasant. We interact more with them but on average we have few disagreements with them. And as far as altruism goes it's hard to do better than family, they are the refuge in the storm. Modern societies are hard pressed to have much in the way of conflict.

---

The G.K. Chesterton argument is interesting. However, you should have chosen a better resolve if you were going to argue for some point there within. Chesterton argues that people defend the family on the ground that it is peaceful and tranquil compared to the unknown of the world. Chesterton argues that the family should be defended on the grounds that it isn't peaceful and at the very least causes some conflict. Conflict should be maximized for the sake of adventure and you'd be better off jumping fences and talking to random strangers just to be a part of the world. At the very least family causes some waves and thus should be protected. You need to interact with your family. *shrug*

None of this speaks to the issue of the family being not peaceful or pleasant. Chesterton argues that regardless of the tranquility which is there, at least there is something beyond the typical ignoring everybody else participation is society we typically muster. The family and society at large are still peaceful and still pleasant. No part of establishing a live and let live concept with the rest of society causes any issue to the topic statement. Perhaps if you wanted to argue that the family or community causes more conflict to individual people within it than with society as large you might have an argument. -- However that isn't the topic sentence and you don't have an argument.

I did enjoy reading the chapter though, makes me almost want to jump a neighbor's fence. Even if they shoot at me, I'll still have the peace and comfort of home to return to.
Debate Round No. 2
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Certainly against Ingersoll, but Ingersoll was arguing against the Bible. If Ingersoll is largely right about the Bible as I contend then that very much suggests that the Bible is unworthy of much respect. Easier to argue against somebody arguing against fables than in favor of fables. But, Ingersoll really does well and it would be hard for such an argument to succeed.

"Christian scholars admit that they do not know. They admit that, if the four gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, they must have been written in Hebrew. And yet a Hebrew manuscript of any one of these gospels has never been found. All have been and are in Greek. So, educated theologians admit that the Epistles, James and Jude, were written by persons who had never seen one of the four gospels. In these Epistles -- in James and Jude -- no reference is made to any of the gospels, nor to any miracle recorded in them."

Is that the point you objected to? He's right. Though by people who would have spoken and written Aramaic the New Testament is largely written in Greek and we've found no trace or evidence that the early copies were anything but Greek. The only suggestion that they were Aramaic is based on the grounds that the *SHOULD* be Aramaic if they are accurate.

Matthew and Luke, though copied from Mark, wouldn't need to be in Greek but there's little to suggest that they weren't originally in Greek too. We have a good number of copies of early Gospels, they change from text to text, some include certain miracles others drop this miracle or that one, this story or that one, but they are all in Greek.

The suggestion that that the autographs of Luke and Matt might not be in Greek, isn't based on any firm evidence. Rather the assumption based solely on the grounds that they shouldn't be Greek if they are accurate.

Dennis MacDonald's 'Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark' is a pretty good work, and if true, would explain a lot... including this.
Posted by Evan_MacIan 9 years ago
Evan_MacIan
I would not be arguing for the Bible, but against Ingersoll.

It was regarding the existence of an Aramaic Gospel of Matthew. He was right, sort of. It's really a dispute between ancient commentators and modern scholarship. I can't say I particularly trust either one, so I'm calling it a wash and dropping it.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Hard to argue for fables.

I recycled an old Dennett argument from Freedom Evolves.

Declining the debate? Awe. You realize that Ingersoll was actually dead right regarded that one bit you thought to be outright false? Which part was that anyhow? I'm probably versed on it.
Posted by Evan_MacIan 9 years ago
Evan_MacIan
Yeah, but I've got a bunch of other things going on as well. I'll try to put something together as soon as I can, and challenge you when I've got everything sorted out.

Thanks for the advice, Free Will's a tricky sucker.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
I checked that debate. You've already lost. And it's going pretty fast. I'll leave the debate offer open.

I've had four or five debates going at once. You may want to toss out Plantinga's defenses on the free will issue. This is the best world god could make without violating free will. Not simply that free will is responsible for bad things.

Though, if that were true then one cannot think of anything to improve this world and the concept of heaven is a mistake as it's typically said to be better than Earth.

At least it's a better defense than you seem to be putting up right now. I debated on Free Will on this site, was pro... got slaughtered.
Posted by Evan_MacIan 9 years ago
Evan_MacIan
Actually, I just got in a very time consuming debate about free will. I'm kind of busy right now. I do want to have this debate at some point, but I think I would be able to put more effort into it at another time. I'll challenge you whenever I have time to actually read the entire thing straight through put together all of my arguments.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Just note any changes needed in the challenge and I'll edit it.
Posted by Evan_MacIan 9 years ago
Evan_MacIan
I am actually interested in debating this, so I'll just wait until we get the right topic set up.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
You did bother to give specific examples so let me address those.

"Did Christ think that the money belonged to Caesar because his image and superscription were stamped upon it?"

-- Well did he? A quick reading of Matthew 22 gives exactly that impression. Should we pay tribute to Caesar? He responds by saying that his picture is on the coin, so it should be given to him. Honestly, that's some bad reasoning there. Ingersoll making the point that "Can we now say that Christ was the greatest of philosophers?" -- If this were the case why isn't the reasoning supportable?

You cite part of his intro about "They forget that it imprisons the brain and corrupts the heart. They forget that it is the enemy of intellectual freedom." Though, the rest of the quote bears out exactly why he believes that:

"Liberty is my religion. Liberty of hand and brain -- of thought and labor, liberty is a word hated by kings -- loathed by popes. It is a word that shatters thrones and altars -- that leaves the crowned without subjects, and the outstretched hand of superstition without alms. Liberty is the blossom and fruit of justice -- the perfume of mercy. Liberty is the seed and soil, the air and light, the dew and rain of progress, love and joy."

-- It isn't about name calling, and I don't think they are that wild. Any more specifics? I don't want a full list but a few examples with reasons as to why they are wrong.

I've seen far too many defenders of the faith run out of time when asked for evidence to take your statements as much more than a surrender. The one example you did give, I contend that Ingersoll has a good point. What kind of stupid logic is it that you should give Caesar your money because his face is on the coin? If this logic holds I owe the estate of Andrew Jackson 80 dollars right now.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
The OT isn't written in Greek. Typically for the OT you pick up a good translation and read it through, if there are questions a concordance will help. It might help to understand the limitations of ancient Hebrew having an imperfect and perfect form rather than tenses (you can describe something happening now or not happening now, so recounting the past looks like prediction of the future from time to time).

He's not focusing on you, he's address the Bible. Ingersoll was writing for common folk, gave speeches etc. Not that it changes the point of his argument. He may not have been writing to change minds but I do know somebody who heavily credits his atheism to Ingersoll. Ingersoll considered himself an agnostic, so I'm sure he could read it. And most agnostics I've met aren't overly insulted by pointed comments directed at other people's beliefs. You say he doesn't understand basic theology and you don't know how to read the NT. I understand a good amount of theology and consider his points to be staggeringly good.
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